A Dog’s Life

You may recall, in 2009, I started working behind the bar on a semi-regular basis. Guest bartending at Alembic Bar once a month for our Savoy Cocktail Book nights, and occasionally working at Heaven’s Dog, either as a fill in bartender or on Sunday nights.

As the end of 2011 approached, some regular bartending shifts at Heaven’s Dog opened up, and I talked to the bar manager about covering them.

I could either pass on the opportunity, or take a chance on finding out what it was like to work more nights a week as a bartender.

So, in November and December, in addition to my full time job at UCSF and Savoy Nights at Alembic, I started working three nights a week at Heaven’s Dog, going straight from one job to the other.

On one hand, this was a crazy amount to work, basically 9AM until Midnight 3 nights a week, but on the other, even Mrs. Flannestad noticed that I seemed to be “happier”, if tired-er. Well, not to mention, in the food service world, these aren’t even crazy hours; many of the cooks, barbacks, and dishwashers in the restaurant easily bested me for hours worked for those two months.

As December wore on, though, it was starting to get apparent that I couldn’t keep doing this indefinitely, and if I wasn’t careful, the hours were going to take a toll on my health and my relationship with Mrs. Flannestad.

In my head, I looked towards the UCSF Winter break as my finish line, and started mentioning to Mrs. Flannestad the idea of doing one thing or the other, but especially bartending.

I’ve done lots of different things in my life. I’ve worked as a line cook, I’ve delivered coffee, I worked as a janitor, worked as a dish washer, tested video games, maintained computers, etc. For over the last 15 years, I’ve worked in the Information Technology field, which is a long time for any job in my life. Maybe it was time to try something different. Find inspiration elsewhere.

I have always loved food and drink, maybe that was the way to go.

We came to a decision, and I gave notice at UCSF, my last day would be the last day before the Winter Break.

Visit family for the holiday, come back, maybe work part time for a month or two while I regroup and gather my thoughts, but hopefully make a living in restaurants once again.

Of course, nothing is quite that simple, when I gave notice at UCSF, they countered with an offer to stay on temporarily at half time in the New Year.

As I hadn’t yet organized full time hours as a bartender, it seemed like a safe bet to take.

That’s where I am now, I’ve completed my first month as a part time tech worker and part time bartender.

As far as I can tell, I’ve got a couple more months of this, feet in both worlds, before I absolutely have to start looking for new opportunities, but I’m excited. A new year, a new start, interesting new challenges.

As Mrs. Flannestad said to me, “This is the first time, in a long time, that I can remember you actually being excited about a job.”

Here’s to interesting times!

New Year Punch, 2012

Had a few people over for Chinese New Year dinner, so figured I should make a punch. Didn’t know if everyone would be drinking so left the booze out for people to add in their individual cups.

It had to be red and gold, thus the pomegranate and orange wheel garnishes.

Chinese New Year Punch, 2012

Peel and Juice 4 Lemons
1 Cup Sugar
16 oz Pomegranate Juice
2 Teaspoons Green Tea
4 Whole Cloves
4 Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
1 Cup Water
1 Bottle Knudsen Sparkling Pomegranate, Chilled
Oranges, sliced for garnish
Freshly grated nutmeg

Macerate the Lemon Peels in the Sugar until they release their oils.

Boil water and combine with tea and spices. Steep for 6 Minutes.

Strain hot spiced tea into sugar and peel mixture. Stir to dissolve sugar. Combine strained lemon juice with spiced tea syrup and chill your “Shrub”.

Pour Shrub into punch bowl, add Pomegranate Juice. When guests arrive add ice and Sparkling Pomegranate. Garnish with orange wheels. Serve in small cups and dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Add booze to taste, if desired.

Life in the Service Industry

“Is this someone influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers or someone who influenced them?”

It’s Funkadelic, the title song from their album “Cosmic Slop”, so I’m going to go with “Influencer”.


“I want to get a Corgi and name it ‘Stein’.”

“Stein”? Why Stein, some German thing?

“There’s this Anime, “Cowboy Bebop”, which has a Corgi named ‘Ein’ in it, named after Albert Einstein. Then I want to name my child ‘Albert’. Do you think that is too weird?”

Well, weird names are kind of in these days… “Cowboy Bebop” was a great series. Movie was a little disappointing, but you know.

“Yeah, if you hadn’t had enough by the time you got the movie, it wouldn’t have been perfect.”

Unnamed Brooklyn Variation (That Other Thing)

2 oz Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Cardamaro
1 generous teaspoon Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

Tasty enough that I am writing this down, so I don’t forget.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans

2 Whole Pork Tenderloins
Tree Oyster Mushrooms
1 large Shallot, Chopped
Pecans, chopped
Dry Vermouth or White Wine
Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat oven to 400.

Clean Oyster Mushrooms. Saute in Butter until lightly browned. Add Shallots to pan and continue sauteing until cooked. Deglaze pan with White Wine and stir in breadcrumbs, sage, thyme, and pecans. If necessary, moisten with chicken stock and additional butter. Check seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Cool stuffing mixture.

Make a Slit in the underside of each pork tenderloin and fill with Stuffing mixture. With the large ends opposite from each other, use twine to tie tenderloins together, stuffing sides together (see picture, below).

Roast in oven until temperature reaches your desired level of doneness.

Slice and serve with oven roasted potatoes, a vegetable side, and a nice wine.

Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Mushrooms and Pecans